A York cyclist has questioned why bikes are not permitted on buses in the city, pronouncing the policy ‘ludicrous’. After being turned away by drivers from two different bus companies, Louise Pinkney was forced to walk her bike into the city for repairs.
Pinkney’s car had a broken exhaust, but when she tried to take her road bike into town for repairs last week, she was turned away from both First York's number 12 and Coastliner's 843 at Askham Bar.
She told the York Press that she was ‘flabbergasted’ by the policy.
"York is a cycling city and people are being urged not to use cars. We are one of the biggest cycling cities in the country and we can't take them on buses. It's ludicrous.
"The fact is, if you don't have a car and you need your bike fixed, how are you supposed to get into York? I'm absolutely flabbergasted people aren't allowed to take bikes on the bus."
Pinkney said she could have stood with the bike in the baggage area of the Coastliner, but was told that wasn’t allowed due to health and safety reasons. "I offered to get off the bus if someone got on with a pram but the driver didn't let me."
The First York website states simply: “Due to space and safety considerations, standard non-folding bicycles cannot be carried on our buses.” Folding bikes are permitted, provided they do not block the aisle and are not too dirty.
A Coastliner spokesman expressed similar sentiments:
"Unfortunately, owing to space constraints on buses we are unable to convey any large or bulky items for reasons of customer safety.
"We cannot permit the aisle to be blocked or restricted as this may prevent people being able to leave the bus quickly in an emergency situation, and there is a risk of pedals and handlebars causing direct injury to other passengers getting on or off.
"We are able to carry folding bicycles in carry-cases and other items such as suitcases safely in our luggage racks however.”
In 2011, a man suffering from cerebral palsy was prevented from getting on a Stagecoach bus in Cambridge because the folding bike he uses to get around was not in a bag. Paul Norman had taken the bus into Cambridge from Bury St Edmunds carrying his bicycle, but when he came to make the return journey he was told he would not be permitted to board with the bicycle out of a bag.
Stagecoach East subsequently apologised to Norman, saying that while it was a requirement that folding bikes be put in a carrying case, common sense should have been exercised by its staff.
In May, Edinburgh trams ran a trial to see whether it was feasible to carry bikes at off-peak times. An average number of 12 cyclists a day rode the city’s tram line during the trial and after two months, it was considered a success. The Edinburgh News reports that bikes are now permitted on trams except for between the hours of 7.30am and 9.30am and between 4pm and 6.30pm. They will also not be permitted from August 7-31 due to the Edinburgh Festival.